As the Cooper Square Hotel navigates through the city's lengthy inspection process on its way to finally welcoming guests (it'll happen by the end of this month, we're told), the Observer has a word, in separate interviews, with affable hotel manager Klaus Ortlieb and developer/construction magnate Frank Sciame, whose firm built the 23-story tower (Sciame also comments on his other recent building projects, including Palazzo Chupi, 2 Columbus Circle and the shelved 80 South Street). We lack the strength to summarize the years of controversies and protests that have plagued the Cooper Square Hotel, but to those somehow unaware, one of the building's nicknames is "Dubai on the Bowery" and neighbors have likened it to a giant vibrator. Good times. Has all the criticism of the building's design?not a sex toy but rather a face, according to architect Carlos Zapata?been a drag on the project? Nope. In fact, according to these gents, folks are finally coming around on the Coop.
First, from Chris Shott's story on Klaus Ortlieb, one of those names you can't help but repeast over and over (klausortliebklausortliebklausortlieb):
He insisted that public opinion of the property, humorously described on the Internet as "vibrator-shaped and mockingly dubbed "Dubai on the Bowery," was finally turning in the hotel's favor. "When this building went up, everybody was against it," Mr. Ortlieb said. "And now, all of a sudden, it's turning around—people actually like the building, which is interesting."
Or maybe it's just the Acceptance stage? Either way, one person still not smitten is the Observer's Max Abelson, who tells Frank Sciame as much in their chat:The one recent, well-known building of yours that I happen to dislike is the Cooper Square Hotel, the shiny, almost sci-fi building at the Bowery. Do you take building jobs that you don't personally approve of? Hah! It would really have to be bad, O.K., for me to say, 'I'm not building that building because I don't like what it's doing to the skyline of Manhattan,' let me be honest with you. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder—we have people that love the Cooper Square Hotel! Look, I think I have a very good moral compass. I think I have principles. I'm not going to do something that would be socially totally unacceptable. But I wouldn't not build a building because I don't agree with its design, and I also wouldn't not build a building because maybe it's not what the preservationists want.
Interestingly, Chris Shott writes that "At least two prominent Manhattan hoteliers are rumored to be closely watching" the hotel in case it becomes "distressed." It won't be hard to tell. Just look for wrinkles developing around the face's eyes.
· The Cobbler of Cooper Square [NYO]
· The Power Builder [NYO]
· Cooper Square Hotel coverage [Curbed]